Thursday, January 29, 2009

DIY pita

This seems to be turning into Bread Week. Apologies to my gluten-free reader(s).

I’ve already talked about how, as an expat, one of the things you learn is that, if you want the food you crave, often you have to figure out how to make it yourself. This isn’t always very convenient, but as compensation it is generally cheaper than grabbing something off the shelf. Oh, and you can feel smug, too, when you make something by hand that most people never even considered could be made by hand.

“You made this?!” they say incredulously, as if whatever it is can only be produced in a factory, shrink-wrapped, and then transported in a truck to a giant supermarket.

“Shucks, it was nothing,” you reply modestly. And even if it really was nothing, you still get the props.

Now I have to say upfront that I’ve never had any problem getting pita bread, anywhere I’ve lived, so that wasn’t my main motivation. No, my main quarrel with pita is that I’m not always thrilled with the quality: I’ve eaten a lot of inexplicably sweet, crumbly pita that doesn’t seem much like bread at all. It makes my teeth hurt, and then sticks to them. I hate that.

So when I saw a post on Under the High Chair about making your own pita, I was intrigued. Maybe if I made my own, I’d get some idea of what the quality and consistency should be like.

I followed the UtHC recipe and method pretty much to the letter (except I did it without a mixer), so I won’t repost it here. I did leave them in a little too long (they seemed to take a long time to puff), so they came out a little too brown. I think I’ll have to preheat the oven sooner next time to facilitate early puffing. But, even on the crispy side, they were delicious. Not sweet, not crumbly. I don’t know how authentically Middle Eastern they are, but they’re better than anything I’ve found in the supermarket lately.

Especially with a heaping helping of smug on the side.


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